Even in death, Brooke Astor is money, baby. To wit: A Sotheby's auction of her belongings ended last night and managed to bring in $18.8 million, nearly double the $9.7 million that the auction house expected it to. The real question is why they'd think Astor's possession wouldn't be a massive moneymaker.
Of the 901 items up for auction, three took in more than a million dollars a pop—despite being estimated to bring in between $100,000 and $500,000 each. The top item was a portrait by John Frederick Lewis that sold for $1,594,500. It was followed by a Giovanni Antonio Canal painting which sold for $1,202,500. And the other million dollar item was a very Brooke Astor platinum, emerald and diamond ring like the one in the portrait above that went for $1,202,500—despite being estimated to be worth just $100,000-150,000 (a similar necklace, estimated to be worth more than the ring, went for just $686,500).
And the hits just go on! A pair of "unusual" Chinese boxes from the 18th century that Sotheby's guessed were worth roughly $10,000 sold for $495,000! Because who doesn't want to own Brooke Astor's Chinese boxes, right?
Anyway, you can check out all the goodies here. And before you freak out that all that money is going to go to Brooke's wicked son and his wife, don't. Like much of her money, the proceeds are going to some of Astor’s favorite charities, including the Met and the New York Public Library.